In The Beginning - Lisa, Duncan’s Twin
Jim Ellison sorted through his mail. ‘When is the post office gonna figure out that Blair Sandburg doesn’t live here anymore?’ Jim had personally gone into the local branch of the post office and submitted another change of address form, but obviously, the idiots couldn’t read.
Sighing, Jim dug through his wallet, looking for the business card Blair had left with his new address on the back. ‘Time to go straight to the source.’
An answering machine picked up and a disembodied voice stated office hours and encouraged the caller to ‘leave a message, man’.
“This is Jim Ellison. I just bought the loft you moved out of. I’ve got some mail here for you. I’ll be home all day, today, if you want to come by and get it. 555-1014.”
Hanging up, Jim set Blair’s mail on the edge of the counter and went about opening his own mail. Once Jim was done paying bills, he finished filling out the application to the police academy. His back pay from the Army was almost completely gone, most of it a down payment on the loft, and the rest spent on living costs this last month, and now, after ten years as a Ranger, with an honorable discharge, Jim needed a job and serving the city of Cascade seemed like a viable option.
‘I’ll take the application by the academy tomorrow.’ Jim thought to himself. ‘No sense waiting.’
Blair Sandburg climbed the familiar steps up to the loft. He had lived there for two years before the building owner decided he wanted to sell the individual lofts instead of continuing to rent them; Blair had moved out two weeks ago.
It felt weird knocking on the door of his former home, but he did, hearing someone moving around inside the loft. The door opened and Blair smiled at the man standing in front of him.
They shook hands, nodding.
“Come on in,” Jim invited.
Blair closed the door behind him as Jim stepped over to the kitchen counter.
Turning, Jim handed Blair his mail. “Here ya go.”
“Thanks,” Blair said distractedly. “I’ve sent in two different change of address cards and they still don’t get it.”
“Yeah, I know,” Jim agreed. “I filled one out for you also.”
“Guess they’re just idiots,” Blair mused, grinning.
“Hey, don’t talk too badly about city employees,” Jim chided, his smile lightening the impact of the words.
“Oh, man, I didn’t mean—”
Holding up his hand, Jim interrupted, “No, it’s okay. I’ve thought the same about them, but if luck holds, I’ll be working for the city in a couple of weeks.”
“Oh?” Blair said, quirking his left eyebrow. “Doing what?”
Blair’s little eyebrow maneuver made Jim’s heart beat double time and he stammered, “A-a cop.”
They stared at each other for a long minute before speaking simultaneously.
“I should be—”
“Would you like—”
They laughed self-consciously.
“Go ahead,” Blair suggested.
Gesturing to the kitchen, Jim asked, “Would you like something to drink?”
“Yeah. Yeah, sure.”
Stepping towards the fridge, Jim rattled off the short list of what he knew he had on hand. “I’ve got water, juice, milk, beer, coffee. There might be a soda in here, but...”
“Beer’s fine, man.”
Grabbing two bottles, Jim twisted off the lids and walked back to where Blair was still standing by the front door. He handed one of the bottles to Blair and then motioned toward the couch. They sat on opposite ends and sipped their beers.
“So, what do you do?” Jim asked.
“Oh, I’m teaching at Rainier. I’m an anthropologist.”
“Really? What specialty?”
“Cultural anthropology. I’m really interested in...”
Their discussion continued through two more beers and a bag of pretzels Jim found. It was dark outside when Blair finally took a breath.
“Oh man,” Blair said, looking around. “I didn’t realize how late it was. You must have things to do.”
“Not really, Chief,” Jim mumbled, carrying the empty beer bottles to the trash.
Slipping his shoes back on, Blair grabbed his backpack and walked over to the front door. Jim met him there.
Looking into Jim’s sky blue eyes, Blair swallowed loudly. “I...I’d really like to see you again, Jim.”
Nodding, Jim smiled. “Me, too.”
“Great!” Blair said. “When?”
Tilting his head as if in thought, Jim said, “How about right now?”
“Unless you have something else to do.”
“No. Not a thing.”
Taking Blair’s backpack from him, Jim guided Blair back to the couch with a gentle touch on his back.
“So, what do you want to do for dinner?” Jim asked.
“Anything’s fine by me.”
Blair watched Jim dig through a drawer in the kitchen, coming back with several take out menus and the cordless phone.
They ordered Italian, cheese stuffed manicotti, salads and garlic bread, and Jim opened a bottle of red wine. They continued their earlier discussion about Blair’s career and field experience.
“So, you never told me, what did you write your dissertation on?”
“Sentinels,” Blair said around a bite of salad.
“What’s a Sentinel?”
Blair began explaining about Sentinels, stopping once to clap Jim on the back after Jim choked on a sip of wine, but then picking up right where he left off. He talked on and on, elaborating on his own theories about the origins of Sentinels and how exciting it would be to find a modern day Sentinel.
It was nearly an hour later when Blair grinned sheepishly. “Sorry about that.”
“Sorry about what?” Jim asked, dumbfounded.
“I didn’t mean to bore you with all that about Sentinels,” Blair said, helping Jim clear the table.
“I wasn’t bored, Chief.”
Staring at Jim, Blair realized that it was true; Jim had listened intently to Blair’s whole monologue and had even prompted Blair with questions, asking probing questions, showing genuine interest. Blair’s heart filled with happiness; it felt good to be able to share his life’s work with someone who was truly curious and interested. So many other people Blair dated seemed to tune him out when he started expounding on his passion.
In companionable silence, they stood side by side and did the few dishes, arms occasionally rubbing together, smiling at each other every time their eyes met.
Hanging the dish towel up to dry, Jim suggested, “Want some ice cream?”
Rubbing his stomach, Blair smiled. “I shouldn’t...”
“But you will?” Jim grinned back.
“Great! I have some vanilla and--”
“No, no, no!” Blair said, shaking his head. “Haven’t you been to Benjie’s?”
“Benjie’s Ice Cream Shoppe. It’s right around the corner. Best ice cream in Cascade.”
“Yep. Trust me.”
Gesturing to the door, Jim said, “Let me try this ice cream and then we’ll see if I trust your opinion.”
Walking back from Benjie’s, Jim admitted that it was the best ice cream in Cascade and Blair laughed so hard he snorted, and the more he tried to not snort again, the more he did. Eventually, they had to find a bench to sit on, both still laughing.
Later, Blair asked, “So, you’re gonna be a cop.”
“What did you do before?”
“I was in the Army.”
“Really? Why’d you get out?”
Unable to actually believe Blair hadn’t seen a newspaper, or heard a report on television, Jim thought Blair was being facetious, and answered harshly.
“Don’t you know?”
Shocked at Jim’s tone, but wondering what was driving the attitude, Blair asked, “What happened, Jim?”
Still not sure about Blair’s motives, Jim asked, “Where were you three months ago?”
Thrown by the shift in conversation, Blair answered, “Borneo. I got back to the states a week before I moved out.
“Jim, what happened?”
His attitude softened by the concern evident in Blair’s eyes and tone, Jim opened up and told Blair about Peru, about the crash and losing his men, about surviving in a foreign culture, about his eventual rescue and subsequent debriefing, keeping only the secret of his senses to himself. Jim didn’t speak about his feelings, yet Blair heard the anguish and fear and sadness in every word, and laid his hand on Jim’s arm, comforting as best he could, but Blair kept quiet, knowing unconsciously that Jim had never revealed these feelings to any other person.
Long after Jim finished talking, they still sat close together on the bench, the evening fading into the early morning hours. Eventually, they walked back to the loft, still not speaking about the myriad of emotions coursing through them. Both men were rocked by the depth of feeling between them and the fact that they had only just met. It was frightening and exciting at the same time.
Holding his backpack loosely in one hand, Blair searched Jim’s face. “Well...”
Jim’s eyes briefly met Blair’s, a wealth of feeling flooded Jim’s soul and he whispered, afraid to speak, but even more afraid not to.
“I don’t want you to leave.”
“Then I won’t,” Blair whispered back.
Their hands touched, fingers entwined and clasped tightly together. Their linked fingers were like a lifeline in the chaos that was their lives; they were both reaching out, as rescuer and rescued.
And it was the beginning of everything.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Diana for always being there. Thanks to Patt for being Patt. Thanks to Mary for the beta. And thanks to the rest of my TFCS cause y'all are the best support and encouragement team in the world!
Dedicated to my Momma, cause she wanted to read something I wrote, and I sure as hell wasn't gonna show her the NC-17 stuff! :)
And like most of my stories, this one was inspired by a song. Lyrics to follow.
Yes by Chad Brock
(She's changed to He's)
He moved into my old apartment
That's how we got this whole thing started
He called and said that I had mail
Waiting there for me
I told him that I'd come get it
How could I know in just a minute
I'd be standing face to face
With my own destiny
Oh, and we sat there talking just like we were old friends
Then I asked him 'can I see you again?'
And he said 'yes!'
And I said 'wow!'
And he said 'when?'
And I said 'how about right now!'
Love can't wait
The I asked if he believed in fate
And he said 'yes!'
Days flew by just like a fast train
And nothing else has been on my brain
Except the though of how he makes me
The man I want to be
He's the one that I want for a million reasons
Loving him is just like breathing
It's easy and it's obvious
That he was made for me
Oh then it happened on night looking in his eyes
Oh when I popped the question much to my surprise
He said 'yes!'
So we called the preacher, family and friends
And nothing's been the same since
He said 'yes!'